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Hum Brain Mapp. 2009 Mar;30(3):766-75. doi: 10.1002/hbm.20542.

Dynamic neural responses to cue-reactivity paradigms in heroin-dependent users: an fMRI study.

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Center of Brain and Cognition, Beijing Institute of Basic Medical Science, Beijing, China.


Neuroimaging methods have been employed to study cue-reactivity-induced neural correlates in the human brain. However, very few studies have focused on characterizing the dynamic neural responses to the factorial interactions between the cues and the subjects. Fifteen right-handed heroin-dependent subjects and 12 age-matched nondrug using subjects participated in this study. Cue-reactivity paradigms were employed, while changes in blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) signals were acquired by functional MRI (fMRI). The fMRI datasets were analyzed with AFNI software and repeated two-way ANOVA was employed for factorial analyses. Neural correlates of factorial interactions between cue-factor and subject-factor were identified in the regions of the ventral tegmental area (VTA), the left and right amygdala, the left and right fusiform cortex, and the precuneus in the mesocorticolimbic system, and in the superior frontal, dorsal lateral prefrontal, and orbitofrontal cortices in the prefrontal cortex system. The neural response patterns in the prefrontal systems are dynamic: decreased response to neutral-cues and increased response to heroin-cues. Further, heroin-cue-induced neural responses within the subregions in the PFC system are significantly intercorrelated. In conclusion, the cue-reactivity paradigms significantly activated the dynamic neural activations in the prefrontal system. It is suggested that the dynamic response patterns in the PFC system characterize the impaired brain control functions in heroin-dependent subjects.

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